Thursday, July 31, 2014

HOME - Part Two

Continued from Part One
I spent more and more time in my room, thinking about the bag woman’s last breaths. Each vibration rang in my ears over and over refusing to let go. Her blood still soaked my skirt and had begun to dry up. It must have been a month or more before I realized that I had not seen my neighbor or his dog. His home stood in its place, but a new face sat at its entrance. She had a sweet face with big, innocent eyes welled up with fear.  I stopped in front of her and smiled. She cowered back and disappeared into her room. On my way back, I left a loaf of bread at her opening and went to my home. From the slit in my room, I watched her warily step out, grab the loaf, and chow it down ravenously.
In time I befriended her and learned that she was the self-talking man’s daughter. Her search had begun a year ago in various neighborhoods until she finally arrived here, but found her father’s home empty. As soon as she found old photographs with their clean, smiling faces scattered in a box in the corner she was exhilarated. She loitered around a while, awaiting his return eventually moving in, hoping, anticipating, yearning then despairing.
When she mentioned it had been a month since her arrival, on a night when all was quiet, not a soul on this street. I recalled it had been a month since the incident, the poor bag woman and how everyone hovered, watched, collected around the scene. I recalled the car with its screeching tires, the blue bumper, a face in its back seat as if a motion picture started to play in my head.  Suddenly, I leaped up and announced that I knew of her father’s disappearance. The license plate number of the blue Chevy remained imprinted in my memory that I had ignored all this time.  I related the events of the night and gave her the number and details of the car. She was on her feet in no time and the last I saw her was running out into the other world.

to be continued...

Friday, July 25, 2014

HOME - Part One

My new home had a lot of things new to me. A twin mattress, tucked away in the corner of my cozy room was soft and plush. A corner table sat at another end on top of which I placed my hair brush, an old clock, and my shell collection. My jacket occupied the space below it along with some old newspapers, a notebook, and a pencil. My roof was low and sagging, but mostly kept the elements out. A small tear in the wall became a window, bringing in cool breeze on hot summer evenings, a fresh spray on those stormy nights, tiny visitors to keep me company as they buzzed around the room.

The neighborhood had become crowded over time and always changing with new people plonking new homes, or some old ones disappearing into the night. My next door neighbor was a guy who talked to himself. But his Golden Retriever looked up at me with sad eyes, her shaggy fur drooping over them while her matted tail wagged with enthusiasm. I always bent down to pet her and even shared my bread whenever I could. The man always shoo-ed me away, just as he did everyone else including unseen monsters. Further down the street, newer homes had popped up, as colorful as the people inhabiting them.

One time when I was coming back home late in the night, the woman who I always saw carrying an assortment of bags was crossing the street. I heard a screech and a car swerved sharply away before it sped off. I looked at the street and there she was, center stage under the spot light of a street lamp. Her bags were scattered around, her body half on the sidewalk half on the road on its side, and her eyes closed as if she was sleeping. From under her head a pool of blood expanded as more drained from her head and her fragile body. Neighbors stood around watching, waiting. They waited for what, they did not know, perhaps for her to die, or for police or ambulance to arrive. We all knew death will come before the help. No one had called 911, none of us had means to. Gradually, the crowd dispersed until we were left alone. I sat on the sidewalk with the woman’s head on my lap. I sang softly to her as her heartbeat became less labored and too weak to be felt, and then it stopped completely.
Next day started as usual, everyone in their own direction, no one remembering the episode of the previous night. All evidence of the crime had been cleared away. Before sunrise, an ambulance had arrived and taken the lifeless body away. How they learned where to come, none of us knew or cared. Our world was our own and each day was new, a gift that we had survived.

To Be Continued...